I have often dwelt on the quote above from Socrates and I can tell that there is some absolute truth to it. I have taught and preached for many years and honestly I don’t think I have actually taught anyone anything. What I hope I have done is caused them to think about what I am saying. In thinking I hope they themselves have learned how to think and judge for themselves. I would rather get people to think than teach them any day now. In thinking they will change themselves.
I look some leaders that have this notion that they can change people’s minds and that what they know or think they know is so important it must be imposed on others. This is absolute folly ultimately. You can control behavior but it is impossible to control thought. You can force people to listen to propaganda but in their mind they are free. Only the man or woman who has decided not to think is truly imprisoned.
I am not against teaching stuff that is information, but it more important what we do with the stuff we know and how we apply it thoughtfully that matters. I have known many knowledgeable individuals that never achieved anything. I have also know many people who others thought were ‘ignorant’ that achieved great things because they knew how to think.
As I watch the inside of a classroom these days I sit and see the struggle in the younger generation. In the case of freshmen when I see a professor that challenges their thinking, the pain is actually visible on their face. They have been taught stuff and how to regurgitate that stuff to others for approval. Very few have been taught to think. Now the strain is visible on their faces. Upper classmen don’t seem to have this particular problem but they are like people who have just learned how to do something and are getting ahead of themselves. They can think but their thinking skills are still being developed.
Me? Well lets just say that my math classes are dusting off areas of my mind that are not just used for math. More challenging for me is that I have learned to think for myself and that means I kind of cut against the grain many times in class. But I find this is far more enjoyable than when I just went along with what everyone thought.
Learn to think and think for yourself.
Blessings and Cheers!!!